BEIJING – China’s auto sales in the first five months grew 53.25 percent to 7.6 million units but the market is clearly showing signs of slowing down, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
Data released by CAAM on June 8 shows that although nearly 1.44 million vehicles were sold in May, up 28.35 percent from the same month last year, May was also the second consecutive month in which sales decreased compared with the previous month.
Sales of passenger vehicles (passenger car, MPV, SUV and microvan) in May, at 1.04 million units, accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total market, up 25.78 percent year-on-year but were down 6.1 percent from April. Sales of commercial vehicles, on the other hand, grew relatively faster at 35.66 percent to 395,100 units, but compared with April were down 11 percent. The SUV and MPV were the top performing vehicle types in the passenger vehicle sector, selling 103,100 and 33,700 units respectively in May, up 114.7 and 92.6 percent over May 2009. Microvans, in contrast, grew only 8 percent to 186,300 units.
For the first five months, passenger vehicle sales were 5.68 million units, up 55 percent over the same previous period, while commercial vehicle sales reached 1.93 million units, up 48 percent. The BYD F3, Great Wall Hover and Jianghuai Refine remained as the respective leaders in the passenger car, SUV and MPV sectors. Sales of independent brand passenger vehicles were 2.72 million units, accounting for nearly 48 percent of the passenger vehicle market. Sales of 1.6L and below passenger vehicles, which enjoy a lower sales tax rate, were 3.93 million units, or about 70 percent of the passenger vehicle market.
Auto export continued to rebound as nearly 191,000 vehicles were exported in the first five months, up 71 percent year-on-year.
Financially, automakers performed well in the first four months, according to CAAM. Key automakers achieved total industrial output value of ¥630.8 billion ($92.77 billion), sales revenues of ¥688.3 billion and profit before tax of ¥108.1 billion, up 75.1, 75.5 and 115 percent respective over the same previous period.
CAAM said that despite the slowdown, which can be attributed to seasonality and weakening effect of stimulus policies, the market is still capable of achieving a sales volume of 15 million units for the year, which would be up about 12 percent from 2009.
CAAM’s data paints a significantly different picture of the market compared with that of China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATARC), which released its version of production and sales data a week earlier. According to CATARC, which reports vehicle sales to end consumers, sales in May were only 1.19 million units and for the first five months were 6.05 million units. CAAM reports vehicle wholesale data.